Drag Racing Champ: 1932 Ford Coupe

When it comes to motorsports history, the early days of drag racing are perhaps some of the most significant. With little to go on other than sheer ingenuity and rudimentary mechanics, exceedingly simple cars were built to go impressively risky speeds considering their rough construction. However, their significance cannot be undervalued, and artifacts like this 1932 Ford Coupe here on Mecum.com are significant remnants of the country’s love of speed.

Mecum captures the history of this Ford quite well, which was raced and then abruptly stored after notching a significant win: “Built by Francis Fortman and driven by Kenny Kerr, this 1932 Ford 3-window coupe was built with an alcohol-burning flathead V-8. It winningly competed at a single event and was then parked by Fortman due to the expectation of a newborn child. The time capsule remained with the Fortman family for 60 years; in fact, it has been driven less than one mile since 1954.” Note the WWII-era racing seat.

The car remains impressively rust-free despite being laid up for decades. The engine remains quite original, and that’s a good thing given the snapshot it provides into this era of automobile modifications: “The Ford flathead V-8 was built with Edelbrock heads, and it has a quadrant of four Stromberg 97 carburetors atop an early Edelbrock intake.” Though the paint is all but worn away, the Ford still looks tough and ready in its even coating of weathered patina.

Here’s where it gets special for me: “Of even greater interest is that this drag car competed in the earliest epoch of “national event” drag racing, the Inaugural 1954 AATA World Series of Drag Racing held in Lawrenceville, Illinois, and took home honors as the Class AB Champion.”

If you’re looking for a hot rod with provenance, history and a successful record on the strip, look no further. Mecum estimates between $50-$75K will take this Ford home, so be sure to watch the auction on May 18th.

Fast Finds


  1. Joe Nose

    Ran so hard the paint just blistered away. Damn cool find.

  2. jdjonesdr

    Gosh.. What do you do with this? Leave it as is? Fix it up? Get it running again for cars and coffee?

    • the one

      Cars and coffee for sure! This is what I remember growing up a being a real hot rod!
      OK so my brother is 10 years older than me. He and his pals built cars like this and would take me and my younger brother on ‘joy rides”. Sans seat belts.

  3. John T

    “Well I’m not braggin’ babe, so don’t put me down,
    but I’ve got the fastest set of wheels in town.”

    – Brian Wilson

  4. doug6423

    RestoMod it and make it a daily driver again!

  5. Joe Haska

    A very interesting barn find, with a history and pedigree, but certainly not a cream puff. The only thing I see that shows on the car that could have been on it after 1950 is the over hanging pedals, which could be as early as 1953. My guess is that this car is on the down side of what it was potentially worth a few years ago. The supply and demand for 32 Fords and historical Hot Rods, just isn’t at the same place it used to be. It will be interesting to see, but I think 75K is not in the future for this car.

    • El Chinero

      The firewall-mounted “Swing Pedals” make me question the time-line …

  6. Jesper

    Leave it as is. Only get it driving.
    A shame to change anything.
    Why also pay + 50,000$ and restomod it.

  7. Rick

    I’m not sure if I agree with the “impressively rust free” statement. Doors, rockers… lots of stuff to fix there.

  8. geomechs geomechs Member

    I’d go through it and restore it (almost) to the period-correct hot rod that it once was. I’d also tone the motor down and make it street legal. And definitely give it an interior that can acommodate a passenger. No fun driving one of those around unless you can share the ride…

  9. 86 Vette Convertible

    Love it.

  10. KC Jones

    Well I think it’s perfect the way it is. I would fix the door bottoms and go back to gasoline with a shot or two of nitromethane added to each tank full. Oh yeah a new fuel tank would be high on the list. Cars and coffee folks in the right village would approve. This is what real hot rods look like IMO. Not to take anything away from the talent found out there but Boyd Cottington hot rods rarely did it for me. This is the barn find I dream of aside from The Cobra in the Barn or a long time forgotten P51 in a hanger someplace. These cars ring my bell and always have sadly the trend is following my tastes and not my wallet. Since Mecam and Others the car hobby has gone up and bubbled faster than a Mc Mansion properties in 2004… I’m going to start collecting sewing machines or frisbees soon as I can’t sustain my lust for precious rusty gold it seems. Even a crumby Vega or 80’s Dodge is worth 5 grand…

  11. tonylomb Tony Member

    I wish I had the documentation for this B modified drag car. She used to run in the early 60’s with a 389 topped off with a Hilborn injection system. The brothers who built it used to race against my father’s ’61 vette.

    • DRV

      The ’48 Tudor is way more common. This is a great coupe!

      • tonylomb Tony Member

        I do love it so. She needs a new fuel line, some suspension work, and a set of brakes. Then it will be road ready

  12. stillrunners lawrence Member

    there goes our hobby…..

  13. Gurnb

    Awesome, just coat any rust issues to stop its progression because we all know that rust never sleeps. Keep any work on it focused to get it running (on gasoline )and driving without disturbing any of the scars that were earned over time. The value and coolness of this car is due to its history and that includes its condition . If you “restore ” this car… you loose the story.

  14. Jay E.

    It is a shame that perceived “value” requires dust, dis-repair and sitting. I would much rather see one driven, worn but clean and enjoyed. I can’t imagine 75K, new Shelby Mustang territory. Who is buying these things? 20K, repaired and enjoyed. Sigh.

  15. bog

    Wonder where it was stored for the bottom of the doors to rot out like that ? This car has nice period flathead up-grades, but who among you would want to race with the alcohol tank right next to you in the “cockpit”. Not me. Went to plenty of drag races from ’61-’66 and safety certainly wasn’t at a premium, nor so much at Indy, nor the GTs and F1 cars in Europe when I got there in ’67. This is NOT a Southern California Timing Association drag car, so it’s “significance” as a “won and done” racer is, well, ho-hum. I’ve plenty of other ways to spend 50-75K….

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